Tibet publishes rare books about King Gesar epic
King Gesar epic

Source : Xinhua

As part of efforts to preserve the 1,000-year-old epic, Four books about the Epic of King Gesar have been released, according to researchers in Tibet Autonomous Region.

The Epic of King Gesar has about 200 episodes and being believed to be the one of the world’s longest epics. It tells how an 11th century Tibetan demigod king conquered his enemies and helped the ordinary people.

The epic has been passed down orally by singers, often illiterate herders or peasants from Tibet, Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region or Qinghai Province (Previously Amdo ), who have often claimed they were spontaneously repeating the lines after a strange dream or serious illness.

The four new publications of King Gesar epic are chanted by three folk singers, said Tsering Phuntsog, the director of ethnic studies center in the Tibetan Academy of Social Sciences.

One book is on the Tibetan mastiffs, two are about tribal wars, and the fourth is about how Gesar conquered a region and distributed gold to the people.

Each book is around 200,000 words. The books belong to a project called “Exclusive Renditions of Folk Artists on King Gesar,” which aims to publish 20 books, chanted by 14 artists. So far, 14 books have been published. Unlike the main stories of the epic, which are sung by various singers, the exclusive translation can only be told by one or two artists.

Transcription, recording and video-making of the stories started in 2009, some of the books are scheduled to be translated into Mandarin Chinese, according to Tsering Phuntsog.

The epic of King Gesar was listed as a World Intangible Cultural Heritage in 2009.

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